JUPITER, Fla. — Randy Taylor is a scout in Texas for the Rangers. He is the point man for the Lone Star State’s Area Code Games team and is also in charge of choosing players for the Texas Scout Team Yankees, a team that is always loaded at the World Wood Bat Championship every year. Those two teams this year have a lot of the same players and scouts were eager to get another look at righthander Casey Meisner this afternoon after he touched 92 mph in Long Beach, Calif.
Meisner, who attends Cypress (Texas) Woods High, has a tall, slender frame at 6-foot-7 and 185 pounds. Typically, pitchers that big have difficulty keeping everything in-line to the plate and in a good rhythm, but Meisner showed good athleticism and body control for his size.
The ball comes out of his hand fairly easily and he showed a business-like demeanor on the mound.
Meisner, a Texas Tech recruit, threw his fastball on a firm, downhill plane. It started out in the 88-90 mph range, but he settled in around 85-87. He mixed in a mid-70s curveball, but wasn’t getting full extension out front and was getting under the pitch a little bit. His circle changeup is still a work in progress and it sat in the low 80 mph range.
“I need to work to improve where I place my offspeed,” Meisner said. “I left some balls up and I know I need to get it down a little bit.”
Like most players taking the field the past two days, Meisner wasn’t just battling the other team, he was battling Mother Nature. Over four innings against the Ontario Blue Jays, Meisner gave up two runs (none earned) on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts.
“In the first couple innings, I had to get over the wind and all the rain and all that, but I felt pretty good,” Meisner said. “I came out strong and I felt like I ended strong, also.”
Meisner has enjoyed pitching in the big showcase events this summer.
“You have these big hitters and, going into the minor leagues, there’s going to be the best of the best,” Meisner said. “I like playing against the best of the best because it teaches me what I need to work on.”
Another area where Meisner is working to improve is with his strength. He has plenty of room to pack on some muscle and has been hitting the gym hard to get stronger for his upcoming senior season.
• Lefthander Brandon Gilson from Prosper (Texas) High came in to relieve Meisner. He had an intimidating presence on the mound at 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds. With a powerful, controlled delivery, Gilson showed an 86-89 mph fastball and a 76-77 mph slurvy breaking ball. He struck out five batters over three innings of work.
• A couple players on the Ontario Blue Jays had good showings against Meisner and Gilson. Shortstop Daniel Pinero (St. Michael’s College School, Toronto) has a long, rangy frame at 6-foot-6 and 180 pounds. He doesn’t have the quickness to remain at shortstop as a pro, but has nice, loose actions. The Virginia recruit went 2-for-4 in the game . . . Catcher Owen Spiwak (Cawthra Park SS, Mississauga, Ont.) showed some solid athleticism and a balanced swing from the left side of the plate. He went 1-for-3 with a double.
• Outfielder Dominic Smith (Serra HS, Gardena, Calif.) continued to show why he’s one of the best pure hitters in the 2013 high school class. Against the Lids Indiana Bulls, Smith went 3-for-4 with an impressive opposite-field double off the wall.